Yates found not guilty by reason of insanity

NATION DIGEST

July 27, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

HOUSTON -- Andrea Yates, who said she drowned her five children in the bathtub because she believed she was saving them from Satan, was found not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday at her second murder trial.

The fact that Yates was mentally ill - she said she believed she was possessed by the devil and that the media had planted bugs in her house to record her poor parenting - was never in doubt during the four-week trial. Neither was the fact that she had committed the crimes: She called 911 minutes after killing the children and confessed.

But experts for the defense and prosecution disputed whether Yates was legally insane on the day of the murders. Under Texas law, defendants can be found innocent by reason of insanity only if the defense proves that they did not know right from wrong. The jury, which deliberated over three days, found that the former high school valedictorian and nurse was not sane in 2001 when she waited until her husband went to work and then drowned her children, one by one.

Yates appeared stunned when the verdicts were read, and her supporters and family members began to weep behind her.

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